Set Date Formatting by Project

Background

There was an interesting question recently in the Microsoft Project user forum. The question was so interesting, as was my answer to the question, that I wanted to share this information with you. A Microsoft Project desktop user needed to know how to set the date formatting on a project by project basis. He stated that in some projects, he wanted to set the date formatting to display the date and the time, such as for Start dates and Finish dates. For other projects, however, he wanted to set the date formatting to show only the dates, but not the times.

The solution to this problem involves a little bit of Microsoft Project trivia. It was my pleasure to answer the user’s question, and it will be my pleasure to show you the solution in this blog post article.

 

Solution

First of all, you must set the date formatting option you want for the majority of your projects. For example, let’s assume that you only want to display the date in the majority of your projects, and do not want to include the time. To apply this date formatting, complete the following steps:

1. Click the File and then click the Options tab in the Backstage.

2. On the General page of the Project Options dialog, click the Date Format pick list and select the 1/28/09 setting (or any other setting that does not include the time), such as shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Project Options dialog, Set the Date Format option

 

3. Click the OK

 

The Date Format setting you just applied is an “application option” that Microsoft Project applies to all projects that you open. However, there is a way to override this option setting on specific projects.

Next, open a project in which you want to apply the date formatting to display both the date AND the time, and then complete the following steps:

1. Click the View tab to display the View

2. Apply a view in which you want to see the custom date formatting, such as the Gantt Chart or Tracking Gantt view, for example.

3. In the Data section of the View ribbon, click the Tables pick list and select the More Tables item on the pick list.

4. In the More Tables dialog, leave the current table selected, and then click the Edit button, such as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: More Tables dialog

 

5. In the lower left corner of the Table Definition dialog, click the Date Format pick list and select a date formatting option that includes the time of day, such as the 1/28/09 12:33 PM option shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3: Table Definition dialog

 

6. Click the OK button to close the Table Definition

7. Click the Apply button to apply the date formatting changes and close the More Tables

8. Repeat steps #2-7 for each view in which you want to see the date and time formatting. For example, you might want to display the custom date formatting to commonly-used task views, such as the Gantt Chart and Task Usage

9. Save and close the project.

10. Open another project in which you want to apply the date and time formatting. and repeat steps #2-9 for each project.

 

Warning: If you work in an organization that uses Microsoft Project with Project Online or Microsoft Project Server, you can only apply the preceding project-specific date formatting setting with non-enterprise views, such as the default Gantt Chart or Tracking Gantt views. The Microsoft PPM system does not allow you to apply project-specific date formatting changes to enterprise views, such as the Enterprise Gantt Chart view or custom enterprise views created by your application administrator.

 

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Written by Dale Howard
Dale Howard is currently a Senior PPM Consultant with Arch Systems, Inc. His hair and beard have turned white because of using Microsoft's project management tools for more than 20 years. Dale started his career using Microsoft Project 4.0 for Windows 95 and began using Microsoft's PPM tools when they introduced Project Central in 2000. Dale is the co-author of 23 books in Microsoft Project, Project Server, and Project Online. He is currently one 0f 26 Microsoft Project MVPs in the entire world and one of only 4 Project MVPs in the United states.
2 Comments
  1. Thank you! This has been bugging for awhile and finally took a few minutes to search for solution and your article popped up. So glad I found this.

  2. Kathy —

    Thank you very much for your kind comment, my friend!

    eDale

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